Constitutional Monarchies and the Netherlands

Topics: Monarchy, Constitutional monarchy, Head of state Pages: 8 (2836 words) Published: June 24, 2013
Constitutional Monarchies and the Netherlands
Constitutional monarchies go by a few different names, absolute monarchy, kingship, limited monarchy, monarchical government, and also as queenships (New World Encyclopedia 2009). Constitutional monarchies do vary from one country to another, but there are a few characteristics that make them similar. The differences are mainly attributable to differing culture and circumstances. Legitimation, levels of authority, exercise of power, role, and responsibilities, and succession were determined mainly through historical age and native culture rather than by desires and preference of the ruler (New World Encyclopedia 2009). As time went on and civilization advanced, noblemen, elected officials, foreign influences, and the satisfaction of the ruled subjects had a great deal of influence over the shape and character of the institution (New World Encyclopedia 2009). Even when this transition the reigning monarchs were still considered absolute authorities (New World Encyclopedia 2009). Monarchs were considered the civil counterpart to religious leaders, such as priests, shamans, sorcerers, and prophets (New World Encyclopedia 2009). This separation and division of authority between these two spheres sometimes created tension and conflict (New World Encyclopedia 2009). When there wasn’t any tension or conflict though, the unity between the two created a strong base for the populace, and the state was generally prosperous under these conditions (New World Encyclopedia 2009). Constitutional monarchies’ most distinct feature is that they are ruled by a monarch who is limited by a constitution, whether it be written, uncodified, or a blended constitution (New World Encyclopedia 2009). Even in the case of uncodified or blended constitutions, there is still a similar level of constraint placed on the monarch as formal constitutional rules (New World Encyclopedia 2009). The monarch acts as the Head of State, and is otherwise known as the Sovereign (New World Encyclopedia 2009). These monarchs are can obtain office through either elections or through heredity (New World Encyclopedia 2009). The monarchs can also have many different titles, including king or queen, prince or princess, emperor and empress, duke or grand duke, duchess, and semi-uniformly as the Sovereign (New World Encyclopedia 2009). These titles can take on the style of culture and circumstances, and can give other titles such as “Royal Highness,” and “By the Grace of God (New World Encyclopedia 2009).” They also are known in some circumstances as “Defender of the Faith (New World Encyclopedia 2009).” There is a distinction between male and female monarchs, and the female monarchs typically have the title of “queen regnant,” but they can also be known as “queen consort” when they are the wives of the reigning king (New World Encyclopedia 2009). A regent may rule in the absence of the monarch, or if they are a minor, or when the monarch is debilitated (New World Encyclopedia 2009). The monarch or Sovereign must remain politically neutral. One of the best features of a constitutional monarchy is that the monarchy provides stability, a unifying force for the population to focus on and unite behind, and as the Head of State, they remain in office even as the government may be going through transitional change (New World Encyclopedia 2009). Constitutional monarchies differ from absolute monarchies in that the monarch is limited by some form of law or declaration, whereas in an absolute monarchy, the monarch isn’t limited by anything, including laws or constitutions and serves as the sole source of political power in the state (New World Encyclopedia 2009). An absolute monarch rules as an autocrat, with absolute power over the state and government, with the right to rule by decree, make laws, and impose punishments (New World Encyclopedia 2009). These absolute monarchies have been linked to religious aspects,...

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